This translation of the Old and New Testaments is based on Peshitta manuscripts which have comprised the accepted Bible of all those Christians who have used Syriac as their language of prayer and worship for many centuries. The Church of the East and some noted Western scholars dispute the belief of modern scholarship that the originals of the Four Gospels and other parts of the New Testament were written in Greek. In any case, Aramaic speech is an underlying factor and New Testament writers drew on documents written in Aramaic. Syriac is the literary dialect of Aramaic. From the Mediterranean east into India, the Peshitta is still the Bible of preference among Christians.

George M. Lamsa, the translator, devoted the major part of his life to this work. He was an Assyrian and a native of ancient Bible lands. He and his people retained Biblical customs and Semitic culture, which had perished elsewhere. With this background and his knowledge of the Aramaic (Syriac) language, he has recovered much of the meaning that has been lost in other translations of the Scriptures. There is a section on the problems of translating from the Aramaic to the Greek.

Manuscripts used were the Codex Ambrosianus for the Old Testament and the Mortimer-McCawley manuscript for the New Testament. Comparisons have been made with other Peshitta manuscripts, including the oldest dated manuscript in existence. The term Peshitta means straight, simple, sincere and true, that is, the original. Even the Moslems in the Middle East accept and revere the Peshitta text.

Although the Peshitta Old Testament contains the Books of the Apocrypha, this edition has omitted them.


A. J. Holman Company (1957)